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Digressions: My Life in 500 Words or Less

November 14, 2019

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Digressions: My Life in 500 Words or Less

June 13, 2019




            A writer’s life, despite what some might think, involves more than getting words down on paper, virtual or otherwise. And lately that fact has been underscored for me more than ever.

            What many non-writers and beginning writers don’t realize is writing “The End” on a finished story or novel does not mean work is finished. In fact, it is just the beginning.

            For the serious writer seeking publication, researching markets consumes hours of time to find the right fit for a short story or poem. But it is a necessity. Sending work out blindly to markets that haven’t been researched marks a writer as an amateur to many editors and wastes time all the way around.

            Submitting to markets includes following guidelines specific to each market, which, in turn, usually means making formatting changes. Sometimes those changes are small. Sometimes not. It all means time, however.

            Likewise, selling a book means maintaining an online presence and making personal appearances at signings and readings. These will take more time.

            An author should have a website, however basic, and a social media presence. Additionally, when possible, an author should arrange readings or signings. A fear of speaking in public is a major disadvantage. Fortunately for me, it’s more likely someone would need to make me shut up in public.

            But you get the point: being a writer requires a lot of work that doesn’t involve writing.

            And I am constantly aware of this, especially recently.

            More than a year after my book “A Fable of Freedom and Other Stories” was released, I am busier than ever promoting it. In fact, last weekend I coordinated and hosted a reading with other authors at a local craft beer brewery, and in two days I’ll be at an author event in Tompkinsville.

            In September I will have two events, one book festival here in Elizabethtown and a book reading in Louisville. Another book signing is in the planning stages for July.

            Such book signing and reading events are just part and parcel of the deal for a writer.  Nonetheless, I enjoy them. Like the other post-creation work of a writer they are time-consuming work but essential.

            Don’t get me wrong: what comes before writing “The End” is work, too. It involves countless hours of plotting, structuring, modifying, editing, deleting and tweaking, but that is the realm, more often than not, in which writers are most happy. And simultaneously miserable.

            Interestingly enough both parts of a writer’s life often happen concurrently

            The writer’s life is more than getting words down on paper. And writing “The End” on a finished story or novel is just the beginning.

            But that is the nature of a writer’s life. Those are two halves of a whole.

            Here’s to great beginnings and even greater endings.

            Here’s to the writer’s life.


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